Chapter Two: His Voice
Everyone was busy amongst themselves, and Aegis did not want to disturb them. She sat on a chair in the lounge, accompanied by Metis and Orpheus. Though, Metis just kept gazing at Aegis with adoration, and Orpheus looked rather bored. There was nothing happening, other than the matter at hand. Aegis peered at the back exit, and saw a velvet blue door in front of the exit. Curiously, Aegis stood up, and walked to the door. She brought out the key that Igor had given her, and opened the door.
"Welcome back to the Velvet Room." It was Elizabeth who greeted her as she entered the room.
She noticed that Orpheus was by her side, while she sat in the chair. It helped her relax a bit, to know that she was not alone.
"Ah, yes. I see you now know what I mean." Igor chuckled. "The Ordeal that awaits you has now begun. Tell me; Have you noticed something, peculiar, about him?" Igor gestured to Orpheus.
"Well… He does things of his own will, acts human, and… followed me in here?" Aegis frowned. "But what does all this mean?"
"I cannot answer that." Igor's eyes bulged. " However, have you ever heard of such a thing, called a social link?"
"Social link…?" Aegis pondered it for a moment, but came up with no answer.
"A social Link is a bond; a bond that keeps you together with your friends. 'Strength of heart is barred away by no door.' " Igor quoted, then gave Orpheus a quick glance. "Bonds you have made with people never vanish, even at times when they seem non-existent. If I look at your current social link status…" Igor paused. "How interesting. It seems that your bond with that young man is still the strongest. But let us put that aside for now."
"Umm… Can he understand us…?" Aegis let out a small sigh. "Why does he act so much… like Minato…?"
"As we speak. My dear, you will learn the truth perhaps in time. I suppose, he will tell you himself." Igor smiled. "'Till then."
"What did he mean?" Aegis glanced hopefully at Orpheus, who made no motion to signal that he understood her. Aegis sighed. 'What did Igor mean by 'the truth?'
Then at that moment, Orpheus ruffled her faux blond hair. She marveled at this. 'Maybe personas are more human than I thought as well…'
"Are you gonna stand there all day by yourself, staring at the exit?" Yukari seemed annoyed. "We already tried all the doors. None of them opened, let alone moved."
"By myself…?" Aegis checked to see if Orpheus was still there. He was, except that he was out of Yukari's sight, because he was hiding behind the Velvet Door. Aegis also noticed that his expression seemed a little, sad. She couldn't help wonder why.
"Yukari-san, do you not see the door?"
"What door? The exit?" Yukari looked at her as if she were crazy. "Wait… are you trying to mess with me like Minato did when we first went to Tartarus?"
"Huh…? Minato did what…?" Aegis then concluded that Yukari could not see the door. But she was confused. What did Minato do when they first went to Tartarus? "I am sorry, but I do not know what you mean…"
Yukari let out a sigh. "Never mind Aegis. Anyway, Junpei and Koro-chan are in the desert of doors. Ugh, this is exactly like Tartarus!" She complained.
"Yukari-san, shall we investigate together?"
"Sure. I wanna get this over with."
A few minutes later, Aegis had asked Akihiko and Metis to accompany them as well. With a full party in tow, the team went downstairs to the desert of doors, with Fuuka tagging along.
"I'll stay here and provide support. Please, be careful."
Aegis led the team to the door where she had glimpsed the familiar figure from before. The door had no sort of handle, or knob, but it didn't take much time to figure out how to open it. All she had to do was touch the door. The door creaked open, and light poured out. Aegis stepped into the light cautiously. In a whirl of light and sound, she was transported away into a hallway, where she met up with the others a few moments later after her own arrival.
"Is everyone alright?" It was the sound of Fuuka's voice, echoing through the corridor. "Aegis-chan, there are shadows here!" She paused. "And… huh…?"
"Is something the matter, Fuuka-san?"
"No… Please, proceed with caution."
There were shadows roaming around on every floor, like Fuuka had said. It seems, everyone, including Aegis had gotten rusty when it came to fighting shadows. Aegis did her best to lead the team out of danger. She wasn't as good as Minato when he was leader, but she was still decent. She led them to the stairs for the 10th time, and everyone was still going strong. Unfortunately, this particular floor was full of shadows. Everyone was too distracted to notice a familiar figure run around a corner and vanish. But it did catch Fuuka's attention.
"So it wasn't my imagination… what a strange presence." She muttered. "Aegis-chan, be careful. These shadows aren't anything like you've fought before!"
The shadows spotted Aegis, and immediately charged. She anticipated this, and sent a well-timed shot to the shadow, gaining the advantage for the team. But even though they had the advantage this time, The giant shadow went before anyone else. It was charging its strength. Next, was Akihiko. He pulled out his evoker to call his persona.
"Don't mess with me." He said as he pressed the evoker to his forehead and pulled the trigger. His persona, Caesar appeared and casted Mazionga, damaging the big shadow and its minions. "Damn that thing strong. Tch."
It was Aegis' turn to move. Immediately, she yelled, "Fuuka, scan the enemy!"
"Give me a sec, I'll scan the target."
"I need your help! Orpheus!" She called, and the persona faithfully appeared to her aid, casted Maragi, and then vanished. The damage was small, but it still was effective.
"Psyche!" Metis' butterfly-like persona appeared, and then began charging up.
"Target scanned! It's weak to Garu spells, but don't use Bufu skills!"
"Then leave this to me!" Yukari shouted. "Isi—!" Yukari was stopped before she could finish. The big shadow interrupted Yukari, and used 'Kill Rush'. She screamed, and was knocked to the floor.
"Aegis! Yukari-san is in danger!"
"Sister, please, let me go into Orgia mode!" Metis yelled. "I'll be sure to make it pay for what it did to your friend!"
"Metis, go!" Aegis shouted. "I need your help!" Orpheus appeared again, and casted the healing spell on Yukari. It didn't heal her completely, but it did do the trick.
"Orgia mode Activate!" Metis spoke in a monotone voice, and became enveloped in the same reddish aura as before. She ran up to the big Shadow, and swung her hammer with all her might, and managed to knock it back, away from the group.
"Why you little—!" Yukari had finally gotten back to her feet. "Isis!"
Her persona appeared, and summoned a deadly gale, which knocked the shadow to the floor, as it did to her. Akihiko's expression brightened with determination.
"I've been waiting for this!!" Akihiko said excitedly.
Aegis nodded. "Everyone, Attack!"
At that point, it became hectic as everyone jumped the shadow while it was down. However, when the moment passed, the shadow was back on its feet, alone and critically injured. Without a warning, the shadow began charging at Yukari. Only Aegis had seen this, but the words would not form in her mouth. There was no need to, because someone else spoke for her.
"Yukari! Behind you!" The voice seemed electronic in a way, like a recording, but the effect was still the same. Everyone heard his voice.
"M-Minato?" Yukari swung the other way, and instead saw the shadow seconds away from ramming into her. "Wha—?"
"Orpheus! Aegis called, and Orpheus answered. He swiftly dove and grabbed Yukari, right before the shadow slammed itself into the wall, and take Yukari with it. As soon as the shadow impacted against the wall, it spattered into a black, goopy mess, then dissipated into the air.
Orpheus put Yukari down gently, and flashed a small smile. Yukari was shocked, but more confused. "Huh…?"
By the time the Aegis and the others got there, Orpheus had already vanished. Yukari had a confused, expression on her face. She turned to the group, and muttered, "…Did you guys hear that…?"
Everyone was silent.
"Ha… I must be hearing things…" Yukari tightened her grip on her bow, and shook her head.
Aegis gazed at Yukari intently, for she had heard him too. She broke the silence, by saying thoughtfully, "Yukari-san… Shall we head back to the dorm for today?"
"Yeah…" Yukari let out a long sigh.
That battle was their first hard one in a long time. Aegis didn't feel tired, but she could see that the others were. Even Metis was tired, so why wasn't Aegis? It seems… ever since Minato's death, she couldn't feel tired, nor sleep. She could no longer dream of him. "Everyone, let's go back."
While walked to the transporter, Aegis stopped in her tracks. There were… cards floating in her mind. They simply floated there, doing nothing. Aegis frowned, and began focusing on the cards until they became clear. There were five cards, and now that she was focusing on them, they began mixing themselves up, until Aegis could no longer keep up. She was dizzy from watching them spin and switch positions. She didn't know which card was which, so she randomly chose the card in the middle.
Thou hast welcomed Legion into thy heart
The cards disappeared, and revealed a new persona for Aegis. She began walking again to the floor's exit, wondering how this came to be.
Aegis was back at the Desert of Doors. Metis was there, waiting for her.
"Sister, is something the matter?"
Aegis bit her lip. "No Metis. I am fine…"
"…Tell me Sister, what was that voice back there? Whom did it belong to?" Metis tilted her head curiously.
"…A very dear friend of ours…" That was the only way Aegis could put it. "Please excuse me Metis, I need to think."
"Okay Sister. Let's go upstairs."
As they climbed the stairs together, Aegis could not stop thinking about him. She had much to ask Igor, so she decided to return to the Velvet Room.
Aegis had made sure she had opened the door, so why was no one here? The elevator was still moving, the clock still turning, but where did Igor and Elizabeth go? She looked to the side; Orpheus was not present either. Where had they gone?
She looked up again, and saw that Orpheus was there, standing in Elizabeth's normal spot.
"Umm… Where is Igor? I wish to speak with him…" Aegis said nervously to Orpheus, in which he merely shook his head.
Aegis sighed. "…Hmm…"
Orpheus looked at her curiously, as if asking, Is something the matter?
"I…" Aegis began to say. "I wonder if he— Minato, was the one who spoke… back in the Abyss of Time…" She paused. "I wonder… why did he have to… die?"
Orpheus looked sadly at Aegis. She continued to speak.
"I… We all miss him… so much… but my tears…" Aegis' voice choked. "I— make such a terrible leader— I couldn't even…"
Orpheus walked to Aegis. She looked up at the metallic persona, who resembled him so much… it hurt to look at him, because it made her remember the promise she had made to Minato. The promise she had failed to keep.
Orpheus mouthed the words, You're doing fine.
"No… I am not… I am a failure," She looked away. "To my friends, to him… I… They are better off without me…"
Orpheus frowned at those words. He pulled her face up gently, so that she looked at him. He mouthed, Don't say those things.
I believe in you.
Aegis looked away again. "…Let's go back…" She said uncertainly. Orpheus nodded.
"…Thank you." Aegis smiled.
Orpheus smiled back, and then vanished.
Now alone, Aegis stood up from the chair to leave the Velvet Room, but she heard a voice… not Minato's voice, but a voice coming from her mind.
Thou art I… I am thou…
Thy World Social link has been established with thy 'Master of Strings'…
"Social… Link…?" Aegis muttered, then walked out of the Velvet Room, feeling hopeful again.
A/n: Sorry for mess ups in the original storyline, I'm trying to not mess with it too much, so please excuse any mess ups in the game play and floors in each door.
Its been-who-knows-how-long since I've played The Answer. So please, bear with me. -Tamer of Memory